Give Chris Stewart credit — he understands the business side of hockey, and isn’t going to sugarcoat it.
On Thursday, the former Blues forward was frank in discussing the trade that sent him to Buffalo, one that landed St. Louis coveted netminder Ryan Miller.
“They wanted the big goalie and I got voted off the island,” Stuart said, per NHL.com. “I was the casualty. It sucks, but that’s the business.”
It was just a little over a month ago when St. Louis sent Stewart, Jaroslav Halak, prospect William Carrier, a 2015 first-round pick and a conditional 2016 pick to Buffalo in exchange for Miller and Steve Ott. The move marked the end of an up-and-down tenure for Stewart in St. Loo (Lou? Lew? Lioux?) — at times, he would flash the skill and strength of a promising, goalscoring power forward; other times, he’d suffer through long bouts of ineffectiveness (and subsequently spent time in Ken Hitchcock’s doghouse.)
Now, Stewart sounds appreciative of what he had with the Blues. He’s currently shelved with an ankle injury — on the NHL’s last-place team — and knows he’s much further away from contending for a championship in Buffalo than he was in St. Louis.
“I was a little disappointed at first,” he said of the trade. “You go from being ranked to win Stanley Cup to being out of the playoffs in a day.”
There does appear to be some optimism surrounding Stewart’s current condition, though. Sabres head coach Ted Nolan suggested the 26-year-old might get a chance to play again this season, a nice prognosis considering many figured his year was done.
“We’re hoping we get to see him,” Nolan said. “At least the guys got a feeling of what we’ve got coming back next year. He had a serious injury, so we’ll wait and see if he’s 100 percent sure before we test him for a game. We don’t want him re-injuring it.”